Marble’s elegant finish makes it one of the most sought after but costly cladding materials. At the same time, the stone is soft and porous and is prone to staining by spillages. Rough handling could also cause scratches.
Here are some effective methods to keep marble stain-free and shining:
Regular upkeep: Regularly mop the surface with lukewarm water and wipe it dry with a soft, clean cloth. You can use a suede cloth since it does not leave swab marks. Rinse all marble surfaces with a mild, non-acidic detergent solution once every six months and then wipe it dry.
Spill proofing: If you want to wax a marble surface, then opt for a colourless wax. White marble should not be waxed, as the wax coat tends to turn yellow. Alternatively, you coat the surface with a marble-sealer (water-based natural stone coatings formulated from polymers). A sealer will protect the marble from staining and you can easily wipe off dust with a damp cloth.
Banishing stains:Spilt carbonated beverages, tea and coffee, fruit juices, wine and natural dyes seep into the marble, corroding it and destroying its shine. Wipe spills immediately. Then clean the surface with a wet cloth, followed by a dry wipe. If the damage is high, the marble may require repolishing. You can clean stains by soaking a paper towel in 20% peroxide and a few drops of ammonia. Glasses placed directly on a marble surface tend to leave ring marks. Prevent this by using coasters. Oil and fat-based products such as butter, body creams and lotions also seep into marble. In such cases, sprinkle some cornstarch on the stain and allow it to soak the oil/fat. Once done, brush it off, resprinkle the cornstarch and leave it on for 24 hours. Afterwards, apply a warm, mild, non-acidic detergent solution with a brush and scrub the stain free. Alternatively, you can wipe the cornstarch with an ammonia-dampened cloth, and then wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
Rust removal: Lamps, vases and containers made from metal often leave rust on the marble surface. You can remove it by using a commercial rust-stain remover. Don’t leave the rust-remover on for too long since some removers contain acids, which can damage the surface of the marble.
Reviving sheen and surface: Marble that has turned dull with time can be made to shine again using commercial cleansers. Putty powder is also used to polish dull surfaces by rubbing it into the marble with a damp cloth. This is followed by buffing the surface with an electric buffer.
Some agents that can cause marble to stain or corrode include water, atmospheric agents such as smog and acid rain, lime or lemon juice, lime-based cleansers, vinegar, rust, fizzy drinks and caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee, wine, and oil-based products such as butter, creams and lotions
(Rukmini Kamat/Better Interiors)